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Predictive height test (LCORL Horse)

Height in animals depends on various factors (e.g. genes, environment and their combination). Genetic variation has been discovered for the Height of warmblood horses. A base pair in the LCORL regulatory unit (on the third chromosome) determines to a large extent what height the horse will become.

This test allows breeders to estimate the height of the offspring with an accuracy of 70% (+/- 5 cm). Here, the horses are assigned to three height groups: T/T (Normal height: ~ 159 cm), C/T (Medium height: ~ 164 cm) and C/C (Tall height: ~ 169 cm).

This genetic variation has a less predictable effect on height in non-warmblood horses.


Genetic Test: available in Shop

General Information

  • Height in animals depends on multiple factors including genes and the environment.
  • Variants in 4 genes have been shown to account for 83% of height in horses. 
  • One genetic variant (a single basepair change in the LCORL-regulatory region) has a strong influence on height in warmblood horses.
  • This test enables breeders to predict a horse’s adult height before they are fully grown (accuracy: 70% ; +/- 5 cm) and to plan breedings to select for taller or shorter horses.
  • This variant has a strong influence on warmbloods. Other horses or ponies might not reach the predicted heights, even with the respective genotypes. Most pony breeds or light riding horse breeds (e.g. Arabians, Quarter Horses, etc.) have the T/T (“normal”) genotype.
  • In non-Warmbloods, other genetic variants (not all of which have been identified) have a greater impact on height. In Shetland ponies and miniature horses, for example, a variant in the HMGA2 gene influences shortness. See the Height test – Pony for further information.

Test Information

This tests detects the change of a single basepair in the LCORL regulatory region of the third chromosome.


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Genotype and Lab Report

T/T = “Normal”: Warmbloods will reach a height of 159 cm (+/- 5 cm).

→ Depending on mating, offspring will be of “normal” (T/T) or “medium” (C/T) height.


C/T = “Medium”: Warmbloods will reach a height of 164 cm (+/- 5 cm).

→ Depending on mating, all three genotypes are possible (T/T, C/T, C/C).

C/C = “Tall”: Warmbloods will reach a height of 169 cm (+/- 5 cm).

→ Depending on mating, offspring will be of “medium” (C/T) height or “tall” (C/C) height.


Metzger, J., Schrimpf, R., Philipp, U., Distl, O.: Expression levels of LCORL are associated with body size in horses. PLoS One 8:e56497, 2013. Pubmed reference: 23418579. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056497.


Tetens, J., Widmann, P., Kühn, C., Thaller, G.: A genome-wide association study indicates LCORL/NCAPG as a candidate locus for withers height in German Warmblood horses. Anim Genet 44:467-71, 2013. Pubmed reference: 23418885. DOI: 10.1111/age.12031.


Makvandi-Nejad, S., Hoffman, G.E., Allen, J.J., Chu, E., Gu, E., Chandler, A.M., Loredo, A.I., Bellone, R.R., Mezey, J.G., Brooks, S.A., Sutter, N.B.: Four loci explain 83% of size variation in the horse. PLoS One 7:e39929, 2012. Pubmed reference: 22808074. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039929.


Signer-Hasler, H., Flury, C., Haase, B., Burger, D., Simianer, H., Leeb, T., Rieder, S.: A genome-wide association study reveals loci influencing height and other conformation traits in horses. PLoS One 7:e37282, 2012. Pubmed reference: 22615965. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037282.


Further information is available at Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals.

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